|Construction of the Anholt offshore wind farm in Denmark|
By Anders Lorenzen
2012 was dominated by a lot of uncertainty in the renewable energy sector, but there is general optimism within the industry that 2013 could be a very positive year. Cost coming down, return of investor confidence and more stability is behind the confidence as well as several large projects that are set to come online 2013.
Howard Johns, founder of UK solar installer Southern Solar writes on his blog about his optimism for 2013, citing the continuing drop in costs, feed in tariff being stable for now and the industry in the UK is not far off grid parity.
In the US, the positive cleantech news to come out of the fiscal cliff deal was an extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), that expired at the end 2012 and was set to threaten thousands of jobs in the booming US wind sector. It has, however, only been extended for a year and companies will still be unsure of investments after 2013, but this could on the other hand, see a race to get projects completed in 2013. The US are also moving steps closer to their first offshore wind farm, with the controversial Cape Wind project, which finally seems to be moving in the right direction.
France are finally throwing its weight behind solar power and are looking to double its output in 2013.
Then there is the rapid advances in technology especially solar PV – apart from the cost reductions and the increase in efficiency technologies with implementing solar cells in windows and having your smartphone or laptop powered by solar cells, are set to take a huge leap forward in 2013.
There are some exciting projects in line for 2013, here are some you should keep an eye out for:
- Denmarks biggest offshore wind farm ‘Anholt Offshore Wind Farm’ will come online in 2013.
- The first construction phase of the Ouarzazate solar power plant is scheduled to begin in 2013.
- The Shams1 Abu Dhabi solar power plant will come online in early 2013.
- The Ivanpah solar power plant will also come online in 2013.
- The world’s biggest offshore wind farm ‘The London Array’ will be completed in 2013.
There is also hope that 2013 could be a big year for crowd and community funding projects, in the UK sites such as energyshare of abundance makes it easy for people to get involved and in the US Mosaic have just launched a crowdfunding site which sold out of it’s projects worth $313.000 in just 24 hours.
Charlotte Webster from the clean tech department of PR consultancy, Ccgroup, is also optimistic about renewable energy crowdfunding in 2012, saying on her blog: “As faith in the traditional banking system continues to flounder and we witness the rise of the local economy, individuals are set to benefit both in terms of return on investment and control of local energy production’’
Subedited by Charlotte Paton